Save Auntie's Bookstore in Downtown Spokane and Other Local Stores This Christmas

Went to a Christmas party last night and the topic of the night was the quickly collapsing economy. One guy had been laid off from Itronix in October, another was a home builder who doesn't dare build any homes right now. Two guests work at banks and described the parade of paperwork for repossessed cars making its way through their offices. I'm starting to think it's going to be a very painful year ahead, especially for locally owned business and retail outlets.

In light of this, it's worth mentioning that our decisions this Christmas of where we buy gifts may be decisive in which locally owned stores make it and which don't. This is especially true in the book store world.

I came across this note from Roy Blount Jr., president of the Authors Guild and it made me think of Auntie's Book Store. I don't know what their situation is, but it sure will make a difference if people in Spokane choose Auntie's this year instead of Amazon and Border's. Here's the funny message from Mr. Blount.

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard.And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves.  Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild